"Botan, that's got to be the dumbest thing I've ever heard! No demon in it's right mind would do that!"

Needless to say, Botan was indeed correct. As a matter of fact, she often was. But did that stop Yusuke Urameshi from bludgeoning her with his offensive, and sometimes obscene, words? Well, let's ask another question: If it had, would we be here right now?

Yes, you're a smart cookie.

You see, Botan is the ferry girl assistant to the Spirit Detective. And although she trusted him completely, the plans he thought up were often life-risking and utterly dangerous when there were always easier and more effective solutions.

It was so tiresome for her. Everyday, in and out, looking over his shoulder to make sure he was doing the right thing in the right way. Babysitting, was what she was doing.

"Botan, are you listening!" Yusuke shouted at her. Botan jumped, blushing with embarrassment from having been caught in her own little world. She nodded vigorously, her curly ponytail bobbing as if in agreement.

"Yes, Yusuke," she said, willing her oar a little closer to him. Yusuke frowned.

"Then what did I just say?" he asked her suspiciously. Botan swallowed hard. She was going to get a verbal bruising for sure.

"You said we were going to use your kai to lure the demons out of the factory," she said meekly. Yusuke groaned, shaking his head in dismay.

"Not even close. See, this is the type of shit that's gonna' get us killed! You don't listen, Airhead! I wonder what the hell is floating around in that ditzy little bubble of yours anyway cause it sure as hell ain't brains!" he scolded. Botan fidgeted on her oar.

"No, Yusuke, busting in there guns blazing is what's going to get us killed," she said, opting to ignore his other insults. Yusuke fisted his hips, angling his head to glare oddly at her.

"You don't know what the hell you're talking about! They won't even be expecting us! We catch them off guard and smoke their boots off!" he exclaimed while smacking his fist into his palm emphatically. Botan shook her head in disagreement.

"No," she said, hopping from her oar and causing it to disappear, "we can't do that this time! It's too dangerous. There are human hostages in that factory."

"So!" Yusuke exclaimed.

"So... they might get hurt or killed! We can't take that chance!" Botan replied.

"And who's to say the hostages won't be killed after the demons find out the kai thing is a trap, huh? There's three of them in there, Botan. They only need to send one out into the alley to check it out. He'll see us and then squeal before one of us even sets foot in his direction," he said smartly.

"Demons wear boots?" Kuwabara said from his place beside Yusuke. Botan sighed.

"You don't know much about kai-seekers, do you? They are very greedy Yusuke. Once they sense your kai, the hostages will all be forgotten! They'll race out here and will be too busy arguing over who gets to eat it to notice your attack! And then wham!" she said, chopping her hand. "You hit em' where it hurts!" Yusuke rolled his eyes.

"Oh great. Another dumb ass idea from you. You know, they're really beginning to pile up..."

"What do you expect me to do, Yusuke? Sit here and let you guys do all of the work? I can't help if you won't let me! You've already shot down three of my ideas," Botan said exasperatedly.

"It'd be nice if they were actually workable plans..." Yusuke growled at her.

"We'd better do something and quickly because we've been in this alleyway for... twenty-seven minutes. I'm sure they're growing testy," said Kurama, giving a quick glance at his wristwatch before he stuffed his hands into the pockets of his black jeans.

"Yeah, they did demand that we be there immediately," Kuwabara said in agreement. Yusuke nodded.

"Let's get it on then," he said, turning and jogging down the alleyway. Kuwabara was after him in a flash. Kurama began to walk away also until he noticed that Botan had not began to move. He turned around to look at her just as she was putting her head down with a sigh. He approached her, placing a hand on her shoulder and causing her to look up.

"Are you alright, Botan?" he asked her. She nodded quickly, plastering her trademark smile on and grabbing his hand.

"Sure I am!" she giggled, "Now come on! They can't do all the work without you!"

She tugged on his hand as she began to walk away, signaling for him to follow, but he didn't budge. She looked back at him confusedly.

"Kurama?" she said questioningly. Kurama sighed, untangling his hand from hers to place it on her shoulder once more.

"Do not worry, Botan. Everything will be alright. We all know how pigheaded Yusuke is, but one day, he'll be forced to listen to you and then it will be your turn to gloat," he said with a small smile. Botan's lips lifted in a smile as well and she nodded.

"Now come," Kurama said, taking her hand again, "let's go meet them before they end up killing each other... and letting the demons escape."

They caught up with Yusuke and Kuwabara behind an empty warehouse, crouched down and arguing about how the plan should be carried out. While they were arguing, Botan took time to assess their surroundings. She inhaled deeply, the musky smell of dampened wood and oily machinery filling her lungs. It wasn't unlike any other alley, but there was just something that she couldn't put her finger on... something was... off. Yusuke stood upon their arrival, eyeing their linked hands with a frown.

"What are you two discussing, might I ask?" Kurama said. Yusuke dragged his eyes away from their hands and up to his face.

"I'm trying to explain to Doofus here that we have to find a quiet way in. The door's locked," he said thumbing in Kuwabara's direction.

"Why not just shoot it with your spirit gun?" said Botan. Yusuke huffed.

"Yeah, then they'll sense me for sure. Anymore bright ideas?" he said sarcastically. Kuwabara jumped to his feet.

"What, you don't think I can open it, Urameshi!" he growled. Yusuke fisted his hips.

"No, I don't think you can open it quietly, ya' big chump! You just wanna'--"

"Ah, move outta' my way! I'll get it open!" Kuwabara interrupted, shoving Yusuke aside.

"Hey!" he protested. Kuwabara began to roll his sleeves up around his elbows.

"Oh no..." groaned Botan as she hid her face in Kurama's arm. Kuwabara took a few steps back and leaned over, stomping his foot and dragging it across the concrete like a bull. He began to growl deep in his chest, narrowing his eyes on his target. Then he began the count.


Yusuke grinned.


"I can't watch this..." Kurama mumbled as he put his face in his palm and began to shake his head slowly.


Kuwabara rushed forward with a warrior's cry, putting his head down for the ram. He crashed into the metal door with a tremendous "crack", bouncing straight off and landing on his back. He sat up and put a hand to his forehead.

"Ow..." he said. A second later, small rivulets of crimson began running out the cracks of his fingers and down the bridge of his nose, then down his cheeks. He lifted his hand and looked at it, grinning as he shifted his eyes to Botan.

"Hey, look at that," he mumbled, "I'm bleeding!" Then he fell out cold.

"Kuwabara!" Botan shrieked as she rushed to his side.

"Dumbass..." Yusuke muttered as he stepped over his fallen friend.

"Stand back, everyone," he said as he shaped his hand into a gun and pointed down at the large chain and padlock that dangled from the sliding door. He closed one of his eyes for aim, his tongue sticking out the corner of his mouth as he steadied his hand. He grinned as a thin stream of blue light shot from the tip of his finger and hit the lock, sending the heavy metal flying in a thousand tiny pieces.

"Bang!" he laughed as he pulled the chain from around the handle of the door and threw it to the ground.

"I thought you said you weren't going to use the spirit gun..." Botan said. Yusuke shrugged.

"After what his stupid ass did, they probably know we're here anyway..." he said, nodding at Kuwabara. "C'mon, Kurama. Give me a hand with this door."

Kurama stepped over Kuwabara to help Yusuke with the door. With a grunt from the both of them, the door slid open slowly to reveal the dark interior of the warehouse.

"Let's go," Yusuke said with a wave. Botan hopped to her feet as Kurama stepped inside. Yusuke's hand shot out to stop her.

"No, Botan! You stay here! The last thing we need is for your ditzy-brainedness to go and muck this up for us! Stay here and watch Kuwabara. Me and Kurama can handle this," he said with a stern look. Then he turned and darted into the dark building. Kurama looked at her sympathetically.

"Don't worry. We won't be long," he told her before he turned and followed Yusuke into the darkness. Botan frowned. Since when wasn't she allowed to tag along? She sighed wearily then looked down at Kuwabara.

"I suppose I'll have to do something with that nasty cut of yours..." she said to the unconscious boy. She reached up into her hair and untied the ribbon from her ponytail, letting all her silken curls down to bounce around her face and down her back. Then she leaned over Kuwabara to tie it around his head. Immediately the blood oozed through the fine weave of silk and stained it. Botan sighed. It was her favorite one.

"That isn't coming out..." she said forlornly. Suddenly Kuwabara shot up, shaking his head for clarity.

"What happened?" he asked to no one in particular.

"You rammed that door," Botan answered. He looked up at her, a large grin spreading across his face.

"Did I open it?" he said hopefully. Botan shook her head.

"No, but you put a pretty large dent in it," she laughed. He frowned, then began to look around.

"Aw!" he said, jumping to his feet, "Don't tell me they started without me!"

"Hey---wait!" Botan said as he dashed into the warehouse. She bit her lip as she leaned back against the sullied building, hoping for the best.

Two pairs of eyes hid in the shadows of the warehouse-- one brown, the other green. Intensely, they watched as the three spirit energy draining demons circled around the four human youths like hungry vultures. Kurama's eyes narrowed on one of the ravenous demons and he shuddered.

"They look..." he began in a whisper.

"Ugly as hell," Yusuke finished for him.

It was true. They donned long cult-like cloaks, but none wore their hoods. They were all bald with short, pointy ears. Their skin was as pale as the moon, pockmarks decorating all of their faces. Their pupils were so icy they were almost clear and fangs peeked out of all of their mouths. One of them was larger than the other two, bulky and tall. He looked at the humans with the most hunger, watching them unblinkingly as they slowly walked around them.

Suddenly, the larger of the three lunged forward to wrap a large hand around one of the girl's throat and lifted her from the ground. Yusuke was about to hop to his feet when Kurama put a hand on his arm to stop him.

"Just wait.." he whispered, never tearing his eyes away from the scene. Yusuke frowned but settled back down. Kurama was the smartest of them all. If he wanted him to hold back, it had to be for a good reason. So, he waited.

"Put it down!" one of the smaller ones hissed angrily.

"But I want to eat it..." the large one growled, licking his chops eagerly as the girl whimpered helplessly.

"You will not! It is too weak! You will wait until the three get here, then we will eat them!" said the other smaller one.

"Why should I wait? I am hungry now.." the large one growled.

"The three have more kai. They will replenish us well. Besides, you cannot eat these by yourself! We too are hungry!" the first small one shrieked.

"That is why he is bigger than us now! Greedy, greedy, greedy!" squealed the other. The large one roared as he dropped the girl and turned to his smaller partner and grabbed him by the throat.

"Shall I eat you instead!" he shouted in his face.

"It'd be better than what I'm gonna' do to em'..." said Kuwabara as he walked straight past his partners while cracking his knuckles. Yusuke smacked his forehead and Kurama sighed. The large one dropped his comrade and turned to the intruder. Upon recognizing Kuwabara's kai, he grinned maliciously, a greedy gleam in his eyes.

"The three.." he whispered evilly. The second small one jumped back to his feet, rubbing his sore neck.

"It is only one! Where are the other two?" he said confusedly.

Just then, Yusuke dove from behind the equipment and landed on his side, one of his hands grasping the other as he aimed at the demons. A beam of spirit energy shot out and past Kazuma then hit the first small demon. He didn't even have time to scream before he combusted into a pile of smoking ashes. The other small one rushed over to the pile, digging his hands into the pile of flesh-soot only to have it disappear through the cracks of his thin, pale fingers.

"BROTHER!" he cried out forlornly. Yusuke stood and dusted himself off.

"Don't worry. You'll be joining him soon enough," he teased with a smirk.

"Sorcus, it has killed our brother! Eat him! Now!" ordered the remaining small one as he stood to his feet.

"My pleasure..." the large one growled. He lifted his arms into the air, allowing the hooded material to easily slide from his shoulders and onto the ground. His body bulged with untamed muscles, his skin so pale they could see the dark blood coursing through his veins. His chest heaved with unmasked excitement as he extended his arm, flexing his claws as he envisioned flesh tearing beneath them.

"Ugh..." said Yusuke in disgust.

"Enough of this freak show! It's time to take out the trash!" Kuwabara said as he cracked his knuckles. He reared his fist back, crying out as he rushed forward. He ran at the monstrous demon with no fear in his eyes, his heart pounding loudly in his ears and deafening the thuds of his thick-soled boots.

"Kuwabara--!" cried out Yusuke warningly. But it was too late. Kazuma was lost in his battle.

He threw a fist at the demon's face, which was easily dodged. He threw the other, which was swatted away. Then he spun around, bringing his leg up for a roundhouse to the side of his head.

Sorcus dropped to the ground, thrusting his leg outward to crush one of Kuwabara's ankles. Kazuma jumped back swiftly, just barely escaping the large foot. The fight kept on for approximately two hours. Soon, Kazuma's shirt was soaked in sweat, his chest heaving as he dodged attack after attack.

He had been on the offensive at first, hitting the demon with all of his strength. But for every hit that he landed, Sorcus came at him twice as hard. He turned briefly to share a glance with Yusuke, his face contorted in concentration as he dodged a large fist.

"Man, he's fast for a big guy!" he said quickly. Yusuke frowned. His fists tightened at his sides as he argued with himself so that he wouldn't let his eagerness get the best of him.

"He is a very powerful demon, but nothing Kazuma cannot handle. Just be patient," said Kurama softly from beside him. Yusuke jumped, startled by his sudden appearance.

"Where'd you come from!" he shrieked. Kurama looked at him, cocking his head to give him a curious look.

"From behind the crates, of course. You were back there also," he said. Yusuke shook his head.

"You've gotta' learn to stop creeping up on people. You're gonna' give someone a heart attack one of these days, then they'll sue you for all you're worth," he said as he eyed him up and down. Kurama opened his mouth to respond, but was interrupted when Kuwabara's scream echoed throughout the warehouse.

They snapped their heads to the side to see him lying on the ground clutching his chest, four diagonal slash marks now decorating his T shirt. Sorcus stood over him, chuckling darkly as he ran his gray tongue along the tips of his claws. Blood dribbled down his chin and he closed his eyes, moaning as he rolled the crimson liquid around in his mouth.

"Do you taste it, Diltus?" he moaned, lolling his head back to rest on his shoulders. The small one's eyes grew wide and he began to lick his lips as if it were in his own mouth. He clapped his hands together and began to bounce from foot to foot gleefully.

"I taste it, brother! I taste it! It is sweet on my tongue! More! I must have it!" he squealed. Sorcus smiled wickedly, turning his back to the detectives to hold his fingers out to his brother.

"Come... taste. Suckle my fingers," he laughed. Yusuke turned to look at Kurama.

"I thought Botan said that they were kai-consumers? Why are they eating his blood?" he asked agitatedly.

"It appears to me that it is a physical fetish. They do not need to consume blood to survive because they thrive on kai. But the taste of it seems to appease them," Kurama said, narrowing his eyes on the broad back of the demon as he fed his brother. Rage began to build in Yusuke, and he clenched his fists to the point of bleeding.

"You sick fucks!" he hollered taking a step outward. Again, Kurama held his hand out.

"Save your energy. We need your spirit gun to defeat him," he said calmly. Yusuke growled, brushing his hand off rudely.

"Kuwabara's a sitting duck! He's already loosing blood from that head injury! He'll be done for in a matter of minutes if he keeps on like this! Someone needs to do something!" he shouted. Kurama rolled his eyes away from the demon to Yusuke, a small smirk on his lips as he ran a hand through his hair.

"Allow me," he said to Yusuke as he stepped forward.

With one hand behind his back, he flicked his other wrist, unraveling his thorny weapon of choice. He cracked it once to loosen it, then he stretched out his arm and in a movement so smooth one had to concentrate to see it, cracked it again, this time aiming for Sorcus' back.

The barbed vine struck it's target with timely precision, and the demon cried out, arching his back as his skin was split. Dark blood sprayed everywhere, and Kurama's eyes bled gold at the sight of it.

He snapped it once more, tearing a second line into his skin. He grinned evilly and belted the whip out again, but just when it was about to hit it's mark once more, the demon spun around, outstretching his arm so that it hit his forearm instead. It slit the skin of his wrist, but he held on, wrapping it around his hand for good measure.

It was his turn to grin as he yanked, jerking Kurama in his direction. Kurama skidded a few feet before he planted his feet firmly on the concrete, his face contorting with the utmost distaste for the burly demon. He eyed his grip on the whip, watching as the dark blood drops fell from his wrist to the ground with small splashes. He grabbed the whip with his other hand and pulled hard. Sorcus jerked, but stood firmly in the same spot. Kurama frowned.

"He is much stronger than I expected..." he grunted to Yusuke.

Sorcus' grin grew larger as he yanked again, dragging Kurama a few more feet closer to him. Kurama frowned, noticing how close he now was. He let go of the whip with one hand and brushed his fingers through his fiery mane, pulling out three seeds. He surged a small bit of kai through his fingers and fed it to them, spreading his fingers as they grew into leaves. He thrust his hand out, sending the bladed foliage flying like ninja stars. They whistled as they cut through the air then struck him, embedding themselves into his chest. Sorcus winced and let go of the whip, allowing Kurama to leap back and put some distance between them. Sorcus staggered back a few feet as he plucked a leaf from his chest. His nostrils grew wide as he sniffed then frowned, green liquid oozing from the wound.

"He poisoned me, brother..." he said thoughtfully. Diltus frowned.

"Nasty sneak, he is!" he hissed.

"No," said Yusuke from behind him, "Nasty sneak I am."

Diltus gasped as he spun around, only to be punched in the nose by Yusuke. His head snapped back as blood spurted from his nostrils, then he fell to the ground. Yusuke kicked him in his side, forcing him to roll over. Then he planted his foot on his back, crossing his arms over his chest as he glared down at him.

"Now how does your own blood taste?" he sneered.

"Help, brother! It has me!" the demon squealed. Sorcus shrugged as he began to walk towards Kurama.

"More for me..." he said to himself. Suddenly, the demon stopped, seemingly caught in thought. A smile spread across his fanged mouth as his head slowly turned towards Kazuma, who was now up on his feet.

"Yes, brother. We have forgotten about him..." he said slowly.

"Aw shit! Telepathy!" Yusuke said, stomping his foot angrily and hurting Diltus in the process. Kurama nodded.

"Yes, telepathy. They have no vision," he said aloud. Kuwabara growled.

"How come we didn't notice this before!" he whined. He stepped back cautiously, pushing back his jacket to snatch his piece of wood from the hem of his slacks. Immediately the wood flared up with an intense orange light, his kai heightening it's power immensely.

"That's what I want, human! That's what I've been waiting for!" Sorcus laughed as he picked up speed and rushed at him. The ground shook as he ran forward, his thundering footfalls echoing throughout the warehouse.

Kuwabara jumped to the side, slashing downward as the overly robust demon rushed past him. He succeeded in slicing his shoulder and Sorcus yelped then stumbled a few paces before he turned around, a toothy grin imprinted on his mouth. Kuwabara frowned, taking several steps back.

"Dude, I do not like that look you're giving me..." he mumbled. Sorcus closed his eyes, hunching over slightly as he concentrated. A soft humming noise emanated from his body as it began to glow.

"Stop him!" Kurama shouted, "He is recharging!"

Yusuke was on it in a hot second, knowing that if he was able to recharge, all of their energy would be for naught. He stopped about ten paces from him, outstretching his arms as if he was holding a hand gun. Then he pushed all his mental power to the forefront, causing his body to surge with incredible kai.

"SPIRIT GUN!" he shouted as a thick beam of light shot from his finger. It hit Sorcus in the back, interrupting his healing session and exploding a hole through his stomach. His mouth snapped open in a silent cry, but no sound came out as he stumbled forward. Stunned, he looked down slowly at his stomach. He reached down slowly, touching a piece of flesh that dangled from his wound and causing it to fall off. He looked back up, a sinister smile on his face as he turned to Yusuke.

"Impressive... I think I'll eat you last..." he said before he erupted in laughter. Yusuke frowned.

"He should be down for the count..." he whispered to himself. The louder the demon laughed, the more uneasy Yusuke became. He growled low in his throat, and before anyone could stop him this time, he was racing towards Sorcus.

"Shut up!" he shouted before he began to deliver a barrage of punches towards his face.

Sorcus laughed louder, all the while ducking and dodging Yusuke's attacks. He avoided the onslaught for about an hour, pure amusement wafting through his laughter. Sweat dripped from Yusuke's face, sheer anger fueling the throws of his punches.

The demon caught one of his fists in one hand and gripped his wrist tightly with his other. He yanked him around, his laughter never ceasing as he began to spin on his heel. He lifted Yusuke from the ground, spinning faster and gaining momentum before he released him, sending him sailing through the air and into a pile of crates.

Yusuke hollered out in pain as he felt one of his ribs crack, clenching his eyes shut tightly. He lied there for a while, gathering enough strength to sit up. He winced as he stood on shaky feet to see Kuwabara boxing with Sorcus once more. Kurama cracked his whip harshly, wrapping it around his neck from behind. He yanked hard and it coiled tightly around his neck, choking his laughter to a stop. The skin on his neck began to tear and blood began to spill over the spiky vine as it ripped at the tough flesh.

"Now, Kazuma!" Kurama shouted as he strained to keep a hold of the whip. Kuwabara readied his sword, a wicked smile spreading across his face. Kurama looked over at Yusuke.

"Yusuke, we've got it covered here! You go after the other!" he grunted as he yanked on the whip again. It was then that Yusuke noticed that Diltus had fled. He nodded and took off through the equipment and crates.

Meanwhile, with his arms out in front of him, the sightless demon scrambled through the dark warehouse searching for the soft kai beacon he sensed outside of it. That would be his escape key. As long as he followed it's soft pull, he would find his way out. Soon, the field of stacked crates and equipment became sparse. He sped up, shrieking in pleasure when he felt the chill of the Ningenkai night air...

... only to trip over a pair of legs. He stumbled a ways before he tripped on his cloak and fell forward to knock his head on the corner of a metal dumpster. Botan winced as he hit the ground face first. Then she shook her head and 'tsked'.

"Clumsy. Very clumsy," she chided the unconscious demon. Moments later, Yusuke skidded to a stop next to her.

"Where did he go, Botan? Were you even paying attention when he ran past you!" he barked at her. Botan looked up at him and jutted her arm out to point across the alley where the demon lay face-first between two garbage cans.

"How did he get there?" Yusuke asked her suspiciously. Botan stood up and straightened out her skirt.

"He tripped over my legs on his way out," she laughed with a shrug. Yusuke snorted then folded his arms over his chest.

"Figures. There's no way in hell you'd be able to catch him on your own," he said to her.

"Hmph! I've been doing this alot longer then you, Yusuke! And even if it was by accident, the fact still remains that I bagged him!" she told him while fisting her hips. Yusuke stepped closer to her, leaning over her to seem intimidating.

"Are you kidding me? It doesn't matter how long you've been doing this! You still have to have brains in order to do it, which you don't! And the only way you can catch any demons is by accident!" he exclaimed. Botan took a step away from him, shaking her head wearily as her hardened gaze softened to one of sadness.

"I'm not going to argue with you, Yusuke..." she said tiredly. Yusuke huffed.

"Oh, is that what we were doing? I thought I was giving you your daily stupid reminder..." he said sarcastically.

Botan didn't even respond, just stared at his arrogant smirk. A few moments into their staring contest, their two teammates came rushing out to meet them. Botan looked at Kuwabara and saw the rip across his chest and gasped.

"Oh my goodness! Are you hurt, Kuwabara?" she asked him while tentatively touching at his ripped shirt. Kazuma swatted her hand away and puffed out his chest.

"You should be asking that ex-demon pile of ashes in the warehouse that question," he said boastfully. Botan laughed, turning to Kurama.

"Are you okay, then?" she giggled. Kurama warmly smile at her.

"I'm perfectly fine, Botan. Thank you for asking," he said kindly with a light bow.

"No problem. What kind of friend would I be if I didn't?" she said with a small curtsy of her own. Yusuke rolled his eyes.

"Gag!" he said, shoving his finger into his mouth. Kuwabara glared at him, jutting him in the side with his elbow.

"Ah!" Yusuke exclaimed with a wince, clutching at his side with both hands. Botan was by his side in a wink prying his hands away to inspect for himself.

"Oh, Yusuke! What happened?" she said as she lifted up his shirt slowly. She reached a finger out and he hissed as she skimmed over the inflamed area of his broken rib.

"That walking bag of shit threw me into a stack of crates is what happened," he ground out through clenched teeth. Botan sighed, lying her palm flat against his side.

"Hold still..." she said, closing her eyes and focusing her kai. Her palm began to warm against his skin and Yusuke found himself closing his eyes as well. The warmth began to seep into his skin and spread into the tissue between his ribs, tickling him lightly. He had just began to relax when he felt her remove her hand, to his dismay.

"Good as new," she chirped. Yusuke opened his eyes and rolled his shirt down, his face beginning to flush a bit.

"Thanks..." he mumbled.

"So, I take it the mission went well..." Botan said to Kurama. He nodded.

"It went well. Although, I think we all underestimated our opponents this time. And our plan was not thoroughly thought out. We could have done better," he told her. Botan smirked.

Should've gone with my plan.

"Stop your complaining! You came out without a single scratch!" Yusuke huffed. Kurama frowned at him.

"Only because I was careful of my boundaries and watched how close I got to him. You two kept attacking him head-on," he told him matter-of-factly.

"Um, I'd love to stay here and hang around chatting in a dirty alley all day, but Shizuru's expecting me at home..." said Kuwabara with a glance at his wristwatch.

"Yeah, I've gotta' be heading home too..." said Yusuke. He looked at Kurama. "What are you about to do?"

"Head home, I guess..." he said, shrugging one shoulder. "Are you going straight to Reikai, Botan?"

"Yeah..." Botan sighed, "Somebody's got to lug this thing there."

"If it is no bother to you, Botan, I'll assist you with the demon," Kurama offered. Botan smiled brightly, clapping her hands together.

"You... are a life saver! I didn't know how I was going to haul him all the way to Reikai!" she laughed. Kurama nodded.

"Of course. What kind of friend would I be if I didn't?" he said with a wink. Yusuke frowned at their banter.

"So you're going to ride with the ditz all the way to Reikai?" he asked him. Kurama looked at him, his face blank from emotion as he studied his fellow spirit detective.

"No, I'm riding with Botan all the way to Reikai..." he corrected politely. Yusuke rolled his eyes and turned on his heel.

"Whatever. Have fun. C'mon, Doofus. I'll walk you home," he said, throwing up the peace sign behind him. Botan watched him depart with a soft sigh, her heart sinking in her chest.

Why does he dislike me so much...? I only try to help...

"Don't let him bother you so much, Botan. He's like that to everyone. Even his own mother," Kuwabara said gingerly. It was as if he had read her thoughts. He waved goodbye to both Kurama and Botan before he dashed off to catch up with Yusuke.

"I suppose..." Botan agreed half heartedly as she watched them walk away. But it certainly didn't seem that way to her. It seemed as if he was especially hard on her, and for what reason she didn't know.

But she was going to find out.

AN: --slaps forehead-- I am SO sorry for that shitty fight scene. I KNOW I made them weak, but I wrote this MONTHS ago and I was just rushing to get the story started and establish the nature of the story. But don't worry-- there won't be anymore... I think. I dunno, I have to go back and check...

Anywho, fear not guys! I haven't given up on fanfiction yet! as if any of you care...:tear:> But I've got so much shit going on at one time, ya' know. Three jobs, family dying left and right, depression, car trouble, guy trouble, baby trouble... syke. I don't have a baby. But all the rest is true. I might give it up after all of my stories are done, but that probably won't be for another three years or so.

Yeah, so, I know this chapter sucked, but pls review anyway! I haven't read any reviews in such a LONG time... I need some positivism in my life.

Won't you supply it...? --puppy eyes--